Short-Term Pessimist – Long-Term Optimist

It’s just not natural to be positive all the time, right? I’ve decided it’s fine to occasionally give in to the negativity that we’re always told to bury.

Not only is it fine, it’s probably healthier. Trying to suppress frustration and disappointment can lead to stress and anxiety and both have the potential to cause all kinds of physical and emotional problems.

When my wife accuses me of being negative, I always respond by saying, “I’m a short-term pessimist and a long-term optimist.” I’m not sure I ever successfully convince her but regardless, I believe it’s the perfect description of how I view things. 

Just like everyone else, I get frustrated with the short-term, day to day stressors and inconveniences that are just part of life. Last minute requests at work, unexpected expenses, kid issues, bad traffic, etc.…All of this has the potential to derail our positivity. I fall victim to these short-term frustrations just like everybody else.

But…there are two very different ways to deal with these constant tests to our optimism:

  1. We can throw in the towel and believe it’s just the way it is and always will be. We can believe that we have no control and life just isn’t fair. We’ll never get ahead and we routinely say, “must be nice”, when looking at someone else who we think never has to deal with the same problems we deal with. They have it easy. They’re lucky.
  • The other way is to acknowledge that life isn’t always fair. In fact, it can occasionally suck. Then, with that acceptance, we can allow ourselves to get frustrated and a little down when things don’t go as planned. It’s normal and we’ll bounce back.

Those who fall into the second category don’t have better luck. There’s no such thing as, “luck”. These people don’t miraculously avoid all the short-term headaches and disappointments that are thrown our way. The biggest difference is they don’t project those negatives into the future. They realize short-term doesn’t dictate long-term.

Our mindset matters. How we deal with and bounce back from short-term hurdles is everything. We can’t always control what’s thrown at us, but we can control how we react to it.

Go ahead and get annoyed and frustrated. Throw a fit. Pout for a while. Just remember it’s merely a blip on the way to bigger and better things. Long-term is going to be just fine.

Rick

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